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Thursday, 29 July 2021

July 29th 1981 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

There are those who cry at weddings. 

And, on this day in 1981, I was certainly crying about one.

That's because it was on every TV and radio channel, virtually all day long, meaning there was no way for me to escape it.

The wedding was between Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul's Cathedral in London, which took place before a global audience of over 750 million people.

Admittedly, I may be exaggerating when I say there was nothing else at all on TV. After all, that self-same evening, BBC One treated us to a showing of The Sound of Music featuring the future stars of the live-action Spider-Man TV show, the Logan's Run TV show, Lost in Space and Starcrash, all in one mighty tale of nuns vs Nazis.

Earlier, that week, things had got rather dramatic in these isles when around 1,000 motorcyclists clashed with police in Keswick, Cumbria. I feel that would have been something worth seeing but also something worth avoiding.

Not to be avoided, ever, is the UK singles chart, and that, week, the Hit Parade's top spot was seized by the ubiquitous Shakin' Stevens when his cover of Green Door removed The Specials' Ghost Town from the summit.

There was to be no removal for Cliff Richard on the British album chart. The man who'd been the Shakin' Stevens of the 1950s held onto that list's summit, thanks to his LP Love Songs.

Spider-Man and Hulk Team-Up #438, Captain America and the Scorpion

In our cover tale, Spider-Man and Captain America must unite to combat the deadly menace of the Scorpion in a tale I believe to be drawn by Herb Trimpe.

Elsewhere, Bruce Banner finds himself washed ashore on Easter Island.

And he's not alone.

Because the Absorbing Man's on it as well!

The villain's lost his memory.

But how long before he gets it back?

Thrilling stuff indeed but it all pales into insignificance before the real news of the hour.

Which is that, at last, we can all be the crime-fighter we've always dreamt of being, thanks to this issue giving us a free Spider-Man mask that I've no doubt will be as awesome as the one given away, all those years earlier, in the first-ever issue of Spider-Man Comics Weekly.

Admittedly, that mask was just a red paper bag with eye holes cut in it but, still.....

Marvel Action starring Captain America #23, the Hulk

There are five action-packed strips in this book.

Sadly, I only know what happens in one of them.

And that's the cover story. I can exclusively reveal Bruce Banner and Captain America are kidnapped by a gang of villains out to make a robot that can rival the Hulk in power. 

Can it be curtains for our heroes?

No, it can't because the robot turns out to be a total dud and the villains are soon routed, what with their main weapon being a tub of glue.

Marvel Super Adventure #13, Daredevil vs the Stuntmaster

It looks like we're getting the first-ever appearance of the Stunt-Master when the wannabe Evil Knievel gatecrashes Daredevil's plan to announce his retirement.

Needless to say, this causes the man without fear to cancel that plan, much to the chagrin of Karen Page.

Apparently, we also get the chance to witness the righteous rage of the Panther. Upon the events of that tale, I can shed no light.


Colin Jones said...

Where is everybody? It's very rare that I'm the first to comment. If this was Speak Your Brain day I could suggest a topic...

Never mind Charles & Di - August 1st 1981 was the day that MTV was launched and the pop video age began!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Didn’t Mother Teresa die the same week. A true saint.

Steve W. said...

Hi, Colin. I can only assume they're all too stunned by the Doctor Who news to comment.

As for the launch of MTV, I don't know how I managed to fail to notice that. I'm going to have to fire my vast team of researchers.

Anonymous said...

Charles & Di, Wills & Kate - they always have royal weddings at the same time as riots in this country, Steve. Whats that all about? As Obelix the Gaul used to say, these Brits are crazy.

A case in point: I believe the rioting in Keswick was at a scooter rally - "motorcyclists" is a bit misleading - and the cops got into it with a large gathering of mods.
Remember the mod revival? I can see the appeal in doing speed at all niters, but the rest of it - parkas, vespas, union jacks, and all that - seemed a bit dumb really.

I believe that Spidey cover was drawn by Frank Miller, one of his better early 80s ones. But adding a load of dull letraset lettering, and cropping the image like that wasn't the best way to make the most of it.


Steve W. said...

Charlie, Mother Teresa did indeed die within a few days of Princess Diana.

Steve W. said...

Sean, I now have an image, in my head, of the police fighting with a thousand people who've turned up riding on kiddies' kick scooters.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Mods vs. Rockers… sound like Quadraphenia in true flesh 40’years ago???

Charlie Horse 47 said...

One of my life’s highlights, and my son’s, was when the two of us did the Sound of Music bicycle tour in Salzburg exactly two years ago. Tears of joy in our eyes… truly… as we rode down out of the Salzburg hills into the river valley. Highly recommended though did you Brits have the same love affair with SoM as the USA?

Anonymous said...

Steve, I remember that Hulk comic where the Hulk is swimming back from Japan, and boy are his arms tired. He washes up on Easter Island, of all places, and in his exhaustion reverts back to Bruce Banner.
Little does he suspect that Crusher Creel is hiding out there, and Creel is currently in the midst of a psychotic episode. Seems he had traveled the ocean as well, after jumping into it to escape the Avengers.
Absorbing the properties of water whilst one is in the ocean is a dangerous game, apparently. He made it to Easter Island (from the East Coast?! I dunno how currents work) but the strain temporarily broke his brain, such as it was. Creel is now completely paranoid, and who can blame him?
He tries to kill Banner (not knowing who Banner was) and hilarity ensues.
Pretty good comic, all in all, with a nice little history lesson about the island followed by a major slugfest.

I give it three stars on the M.P.-ometer.


Killdumpster said...

I only cried at one wedding. My aunt, who was only 6 yrs older than me (I was only 13 at the time) married her boyfriend. He previously had to join the army as a court stipulation to avoid jail time for calling in a false fire alarms. He belonged to a volunteer fire department, and he loved riding on the trucks. Then while on leave from the army he went AWOL. He was such a scum.

What's really unbelievable is the same fire department took him back! What's even more insane is years later they made him FIRE CHIEF!! Hokey Smokes, False Alarm-winkle!!!

Ah, Cliff Richard. The only American hit I remember he had was "It's So Funny How We Don't Talk Anymore". My littlest sister had the '45. I know in the UK he was almost at Elvis level. That song, and hosting the Solid Gold tv show, is my only experience with his career.

Damn, Spidey & Cap against the Scorpion? That should've only lasted one page. Cap & the FALCON were able to take Scorps AND Mr. Hyde in 2 issues of their own book! Man...

The Absorbing Man has always been one of my favs. I hate it when folks consider him "low level". Heck, the guy fights Thor, Hulk, and the Avengers and walks away. Granted, a bit discombobulated.

I read that he's got a new upgrade, where he can absorb the ability of machines now and can operate their functions.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you there, K.D.
The Absorbing Man is one of my favorite villains too.
I could be mistaken, but in his first (second?) appearance, I think he tried to absorb Asgard.
Theoretically, on paper at least, he's unbeatable. He could take on the attributes of, or "absorb" anything. That's almost like Ego or Galactus. Or Korvac. Then again, the guy's no genius. Maybe you have to be pretty smart if you're that powerful. Thor once tricked him into absorbing the properties of cardboard. Throw the guy a roll of toilet paper and say "catch!" and you've got him beat.
But, if he got these powers from Loki, why didn't Loki simply bestow these powers on himself?
He's no knucklehead like Creel. He would know how to handle it, I assume. And how the heck was Loki able to do that in the first place?
I dunno, K.D.
There is a flaw in the ointment here somewhere.


Steve W. said...

Charlie, I hope you were singing all the songs as you were doing it.

I can't comment on how popular the Sound of Music is these days in Britain but I do know the soundtrack album was insanely popular in the 1960s and spent 70 weeks at Number One, in total.

MP and KD, the Absorbing Man has always been one of my favourite villains too, despite his baffling incompetence when it comes to the crunch.

Anonymous said...

Colin & Steve - I've got Spidey & Hulk, but have mislaid it! Fortean Times dealt with losing things (despite looking everywhere), some years ago. You're supposed to ask 'them' to put it in plain sight, again (a more scientific explanation being consciousness is actually intermittent - not continuous, like a movie.)

I was going to offer 'Blockbuster', as an alternative, but the monthly comics must be going up next Thursday.

Anyway, M.P. nicely summed up the main story - that was my last ever Hulk story, incidentally. What's more it provided an ending to an important cliffhanger - Marvel Superheroes monthly:

had Cap throw his indestructible shield at the Absorbing Man, like a rank amateur (clearly Michelinie, not Jim Shooter), whereupon the Avengers were about to get a right royal ass- kicking! The story ended on a cliffhanger...and I never got the conclusion. However, that Hulk story explained how the Absorbing Man absorbed the Vision's powers, became intangible, and somehow merged with the ocean, with his molecules almost becoming dispersed - or something. For me, that Hulk story served the same purpose as 'What if Phoenix had not died?' did for my missing X-Men # 137.

My family got its first colour tv (a Sony Trinitron) for the royal wedding.

KD - a very sharp post. Another good Cliff song was "Carrie doesn't live here anymore - Carrie's just a room on the 2nd floor"...bit I've forgotten..."no forwarding address; it's a mystery!" Just how 6th form girls appeared to a first year. Mysterious goddesses.

Charlie - commiserations about Jodie. She'll have to join Pat Stewart (Picard) & Brian Blessed (Voltan), as the triumvirate of former Yorkshire sci-fi greats/titans.

To digess...Eggborough power station's losing 4 cooling towers at 1pm (?) on Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Digress - not digess! Damn typos!


Colin Jones said...

Steve, I hadn't heard the Doctor Who bombshell news! Apparently Jodie Whittaker's final episode will form part of the BBC's 100th anniversary celebrations next year.

Phil, in 1993 I bought a Sony Trinitron second-hand off a friend. I say "second-hand" but it was only three years old and hardly used so it was almost like new. I kept that Sony TV until 2011 when I bought a new flat-screen TV.

KD, I think Cliff Richard's biggest US hit was 'Devil Woman' in 1976 but don't quote me on that!

I thought my mention of MTV's 40th anniversary would have prompted comments or opinions about MTV but...nothing.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

It would seem those with obviously being in possession of “the winningest power for a villain” can’t deal with it: the Red Skull and Cube Cosmic The, and Absorbing Man?

These seems worthy of its own column and after getting a list of candidates a SDC poll!!!

How long’s it been since the last poll….?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

MTV - yes! Their 40th anniversary this week!

Steve - you may need to find another internet to use? You missed Mother Teresa and MTV’s 40th? What else have we been nit ruminating on?

Charlie feels less than whole, less than a complete man…

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I’ll miss Jodie Whitaker. But I have found a nice lady friend so I shan’t miss her as much as I would have.

But besides all that she dhas been playing the onlly Dr Who I could watch.

My fellow Americans if you, like Charlie, found Who to be an acquired taste, I would recommend checking out the current Who played by Jodie. She honestly has a knack for being serious but not being taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

Colin - The Trinitron was a damn good tv, wasn't it? I tend to associate MTV only with specific videos - e.g. 'Money For Nothing', 'by Dire Straits, or 'White Wedding', by Billy Idol. And a 3rd one, that's slipped my mind. Also, Beavis & Butthead watching MTV.

Charlie - If you like Yorkshire women as Dr.Who, why don't you nominate Amanda Owen (the Yorkshire shepherdess) as Jodie's replacement? She's on Channel 5 every Saturday - so, a quick change to the schedules?

For UK types, one's favourite Who's the one you grew up with (more often than not). For most people it's Colin Baker, as he was Who almost forever!


Colin Jones said...

Phil, I think you mean TOM Baker who was the Doctor from 1974-81. He played the role for longer than any other actor. My favourite Who actor is indeed Tom Baker but I began watching Dr. Who around 1969 when Patrick Troughton was in the role and then Jon Pertwee took over soon after.

Charlie, Steve DIDN'T forget about Mother Theresa's death - she died in 1997 NOT 1981. Mother Theresa died in the same week as Diana's DEATH not her wedding!

Anonymous said...

‘Devil Woman’ is really my only frame of reference regarding Cliff Richard. Oh, and wasn’t Rick on THE YOUNG ONES a Cliff Richard fan?


Anonymous said...

Colin - You are correct. I did mean Tom!

b.t. - Cliff became a national joke, around that time, partly due to Rick. Unfair, really, as he had a couple of decent songs.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Who would be the worst possible choice for the next Doctor? I'm going for Ross Kemp.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie doesn’t know the regions of The UK to know which type of woman he would prefer.

I just like ones with all their teeth. I’m not too particular.

Hey! What has 36 arms and teeth? Front row of a Kentucky church! Little US humor. I’m
Hating On Mitch McConnell today.

Anonymous said...


...anyway, MTV was kinda cool back then, like Phil said. I used to dig it in the early years too.
Now it is an unholy abomination in the eyes of man and God alike.
...or, maybe I'm turning into a cranky old fart.
However, that show Ridiculousness, despite the vapid brainlessness of it's hosts, is often pretty funny.
The self-inflicted bodily injuries of morons is always comedic gold.
It's like a real-life Three Stooges.


Killdumpster said...

I totally forgot about Cliff's DEVIL WOMAN! That was a good song!

Man, I remember the beginning of MTV. We'd watch the same 20-30 videos over & over for hours.

Loki is powerful enough where he doesn't need the ability of the Absorbing Man. Remember when he turned himself radioactive with just a thought at the end of Avengers #1?

I gotta throw a shoutout to my brother Charlie, for hooking me up with the DD books featuring Stunt Master. Though I was a dirt bike rider and big Knievel fan, seeing Stunt Master on the cover didn't get me to shed my precious coin on those comics back in the day. Impressive or favorite villains on the covers drove my purchases. Stunt Master was neither.

It was great fun to read DD's I never saw before. Colan was the greatest DD artist ever. It did remind me why I had spent my meager pennies on other titles, though.

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, I think I'm going to have to go for Laurence Fox as the worst possible actor to play the next Doctor.

Anonymous said...

Banners & amnesiac Absorbing Man, on an island together? Like the flip side of the series 2 Incredible Hulk episode, 'Mystery Man'? Banner (with amnesia) & McGee are trapped together (after a plane crash), surrounded by a forest fire - or something.


Colin Jones said...

I'm trying to imagine Ross Kemp as the Doctor.

"Davros, you slaaag - come an' 'ave a go if you think you're 'ard enough".

Anonymous said...

Colin - Or, an ironic, self-parodying Ross Kemp, like in Extras? "Davros, but what if I were a real Time-Lord, and this sonic screw-driver was really loaded? Could you handle it, mate?"


Anonymous said...

I'm trying to imagine Laurence Fox as the Doctor.

"Davros has made amazing contributions to the galaxy. Its a myth the Daleks are racist - if you say that then you're the racist."


Anonymous said...

He'd need a less well-educated, but dogged & persistent Geordie companion. Roberta Lewis, perhaps?


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Laurence Fox is a good shout Steve

Killdumpster said...

Never underestimate the ability of mechanical objects to be racist.

I think my toaster may be racist. I put white bread into it, and it comes out Brown or black.

Anonymous said...

Finding the tight setting for a toaster is a process.
There's liable to be some trial and error involved.

On a different note, if there had been no Evel Knievel, there probably never woulda been a "Stuntman". I remember the 70's, (somewhat) and that drunk-ass, baseball bat-wielding, death-seeking lunatic took the country by storm.
I guess we needed a hero after Watergate and Viet Nam.
So we ended up with this guy.
I even had that posable Evel Knievel action figure, with the motorcycle and the ramp.
And then my dog killed him.
I loved that damn dog, but he had a hard-on for action figures. You couldn't leave 'em laying on the floor. I had that Stretch Monster. Remember him? He was the arch-enemy of Stretch Armstrong. The damn thing probably weighed over ten pounds and was made of thick rubber, with a weird goo inside that looked like strawberry jam.
I dunno what it tasted like, but my dog did, apparently.
I found that out because Tipper, being unable to tear him limb from limb, (not for lack of trying) managed to score some deep puncture marks.
He was part Border Collie and they tend to be neurotic.


Anonymous said...

"Finding the RIGHT setting", I meant.
Oh, and "Stunt Master" not "Stunt Man".
Curse these typos!


Killdumpster said...

Do you remember what the crank thingy for powering up the Evel Knievel bike was really called? I cannot remember.

Guess if you have a utensil for the enjoyment of your toy that most folks call a "thingy" you are a legend.

Anonymous said...

M.P. - I wanted that Stretch monster, but never got it!

For any one who's interested, here's the live feed of Eggborough power station (featured in the movie, 'Hobbs & Shaw')'s cooling tower demolition:

It's scheduled for 8am UK time!